Cop tased unarmed man 16 times in 3 minutes
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The family of a man tased to death by a Greenwood, IN police officer last May today filed a federal lawsuit against the officers involved and the Town of Greenwood, an Indianapolis suburb. They will hold a news conference at 12 noon today in front of the Birch Bayh Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, 46 East Ohio Street, in Indianapolis.
Thirty-year-old Charles Todero was in mourning as he was walking home from his father’s funeral on May 29, 2016, with the one possession his dad had left him, a family Bible. Greenwood Police responded to a report of a man walking in the
roadway. According to the suit, “When Defendant Blackwell arrived on scene, Charlie was sitting on the curb reading the Bible. Defendant Blackwell, who had interacted with Charlie many times in the past, knew him and engaged him in conversation. Charlie began to walk away from Defendant Blackwell, and Blackwell shot him with his Taser, lodging two metal probes in Charlie’s back and shocking him with electricity.”
According to logs from his taser, Lieutenant Brian Blackwell tased Todero 16 times in three minutes, 10 seconds. This extreme number of tases far exceeds the safety recommendations of the manufacturer, Axon (formerly Taser International), which notes that “Most human CEW (‘conducted energy weapon’) lab testing has not exceeded 15 seconds of CEW application, and none has exceeded 45 seconds,” and instructs Taser users to “Minimize the number and duration of CEW exposures,” because “Repeated, prolonged or continuous CEW applications . . . could increase the risk of death or serious injury.”
A 2011 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice noted that “Personnel should be trained to use an ECW (‘Electronic Control Weapons’) for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then evaluate the situation to determine if subsequent cycles are necessary. Training protocols should emphasize that multiple applications or continuous cycling of an ECW resulting in an exposure longer than 15 seconds (whether continuous or cumulative) may increase the risk of serious injury or death and should be avoided.”
In total, Blackwell’s taser electrocution of Todero lasted 1 minute and 38 seconds – more than six times the 15-second maximum set by Axon, and more than twice the maximum duration of any lab testing done on humans. Within minutes after the tasing, Todero’s heart had stopped, and hospital tests revealed numerous Over the course of the next several days Todero suffered a dozen heart attacks and massive organ failure caused by the tasing before dying on June 11, 2016.
At the time of his death, Todero, a resident of Trafalgar, Indiana, was working as a landscaper. He is survived by his mother, Teresa Todero, age 54, and five brothers, James Todero (age 38), Aaron Crowe (age 26), Tyler Todero (age 22), Phillip Haugh (age 39), and Raymond Barrett (age 21).
The Todero family is represented by attorneys Steven Art and Sam Heppell of the civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law. Loevy & Loevy is one of the largest civil rights law firms in the United States. It has won more multi-million-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country over the past decade.